The new Green Low-carbon Agri-environment Scheme(GLAS) will be open to new applicants from February 2015. The Scheme addresses three key target areas: (1) Species and Habitats; (2) Water Quality; and (3) Climate Change. Preference for acceptance into GLAS is given to applicants with priority assets including Commonages, Natura Lands, Rare Breeds, Farm birds and High Status Water areas. A maximum of €5,000 per annum is payable under GLAS. If an applicant has more than one priority asset s/he may qualify for an extra payment of up to €2,000 per year. There is no separate application and the payment will be made automatically. The following requirements are compulsory:
- An approved agricultural advisor must prepare the GLAS application
- Nutrient Management Plan
- Training in environmental practices and standards
- Record keeping of actions delivered
For many crop producers Minimum Tillage, Arable Margins and Green Cover Crops are suitable measures for consideration in a GLAS application. The establishment of green cover crops will be supported to a value of €155/ha and two plant species must be used. Minimum tillage will be receive a payment of €40/ha. A minimum of 10 hectares must be used for green cover and/or minimum tillage each deliverable over entire LPIS parcels. The arable margin measure, with increasing payment for 3, 6, 10 or 30 metre margins, is deliverable along the boundary or boundaries of a LPIS parcel.
For farmers with a shareholding in common lands they must participate in a Commonage Management Plan(CMP) drawn up by an approved Commonage Planner. The CMP must reach up to 50% of the active commonage shareholders or 50% of the total commonage area. An active shareholder is one who made a single payment application to include their commonage land in 2014 and who also had sheep in 2014. GLAS participants will have to reach minimum stock numbers the end of 2016. Payment here is €120/ha so approximately 42 hectares is required to qualify for the optimum GLAS payment.
Geraghty Consulting is an approved agricultural planner for drawing up both GLAS and Commonage Management Plans.